* TSX down 11.30 points, or 0.09 pct, at 11,963.84
* Materials shares fall 0.8 pct, leading the fall
* RIM rises 5.5 percent after analyst upgrade (Adds details)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock market index slipped on Monday, after touching its highest point in eight weeks, as weaker bullion prices weighed on gold producers.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) dropped 1.7 percent to C$40.84 and Kinross Gold (K.TO) fell 1.7 percent to C$19.36 as gold prices skidded 1 percent on technical selling and liquidation by investors of positions added last week to cushion currency volatility resulting from the Greek debt crisis. [GOL/]
The weakness among golds helped drag down the index’s materials sector by 0.8 percent.
The energy sector also notched a weaker finish, down 0.1 percent, even as oil prices were firmer [O/R], resulting in a mixed picture for the sector. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose 0.5 percent to C$32.03, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) dropped 0.4 percent to C$74.18.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was flat for most of the day, despite some early gains, and ended down 11.30 points, or 0.09 percent, at 11,963.84.
Shortly after the open the index hit 12,039.51 its highest level since Jan. 11. But the gains evaporated quickly.
“I think it may simply reflect the fact that we’ve had a pretty good run here of late,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.
“You may have people taking a bit of a breather,” he said.
The TSX index rallied on Friday and finished the week at 11,975.14, its highest close since September 2008, as investors cheered U.S. employment data that offered more evidence of an economic recovery.
On the upside on Monday, Research In Motion RIM.TO leaped 5.5 percent to C$75.48 after an analyst upgraded the stock on expectations the BlackBerry maker will report strong quarterly results and issue a robust outlook.[CA-RCH]
The share price surged as worries about competitive threats to the smartphone maker started to recede. [ID:N08181449] The broader information technology sector was up 1.6 percent.
Shares of BCE Inc (BCE.TO) rose 0.33 percent to C$30.48 after Barron’s cited BCE’s dividend increases and share buybacks as factors in a likely rise of the stock. [ID:nN07134941]
Shares of Quadra Mining QUA.TO shot 5.9 percent higher to C$16.45. Quadra said on Monday it has agreed to form a joint venture with China’s largest utility company to develop its huge Sierra Gorda copper project in Chile, expected to cost more than $2 billion. [ID:nN08165352]
Mining companies were in focus with the start of the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto, which is expected to draw more than 20,000 miners, analysts, and resource pundits. [ID:nN07142200]
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 0.12 of a point, or 0.02 percent, lower at 702.60.
$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway